Officials are looking at the feasibility of adding as many as 165 positions to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Department over the next three to five years.
The Board of Supervisors' Public Safety Committee voted last week to ask County Administrator Kirby Bowers to conduct a study, in the words of Bruce Tulloch, vice chairman of the board, "to get us where we need to get without hemorrhaging. … We need to find out what the priorities are after adding the costs."
SHERIFF STEVE SIMPSON said he wants 155 to 165 more positions, at an estimated cost of $22 million, to deal with the rapid population growth, changing demographics, traffic congestion and requests for positions that have gone unfunded. The board's decision to finance a ratio of .8 deputies per 1,000 citizens is insufficient, he said.
"A few years ago, we got 70 positions in one year," he said. "If we got 55 positions a year for three years, we'd be in great shape."
The board added 40 positions this fiscal year.
Simpson said he needs personnel in the following areas: patrols, the Dulles South Substation, criminal investigations, the school resource officer program, the DARE program, civil process, court security, the new jail, homeland security, traffic/truck enforcement, community policing, warrant services, internal affairs, administrative support, and training.
The committee also backed raising the size of the Sheriff's Auxiliary Unit from 25 to 40.
It voted to recommend that the Board of Supervisors amend the Loudoun County Codified Ordinance and place the item on its public hearing agenda for Oct. 12. The board would then vote on the increase on Nov. 2.
THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE had asked to raise the auxiliary by 10 additional members at a cost of $3,769 for training and equipment and not to place a cap on the size. The Sheriff's Office fiscal year 2005 budget would cover the increase.
The Sheriff's Auxiliary is a volunteer organization that assists the department with operational and administrative assignments, such as traffic control and DUI checkpoints. The volunteers are unarmed and do not have the authority to detain or arrest people.
Simpson said the department needs a bigger pool of volunteers, because most of them are not available when they are needed.
Maj. Robert Brendel said some volunteers are available only on the weekends or evenings. "And you have people who live, eat and breathe it," he said.
Lt. Col. Randy Badura said the department is only interested in expanding the auxiliary to a manageable size. "We're not going to accept 200 applications," he said. "We can't manage that."